by Mark Nobes, chief editor
The video clip above shows an original Gremlins trailer from the 1980s. Although this isn't one of the greatest 80s movies ever released, it's certainly one of the more memorable ones. Released on 7th December 1984, and featuring a mix of comedy and horror, Gremlins was the fourth most profitable film of 1984, grossing around $153m. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie is set at Christmas time with the storyline revolving around a young lad's cute pet who he calls "Gizmo".
Whilst searching for a suitable Christmas present for his son, Billy, Inventor Randall Peltzer (played by Hoyt Axton) stumbles upon an antique store in Chinatown. His attention is drawn towards a fascinating creature called a Mogwai, and despite the shop owner's reservations, just as the inventor was leaving the store, the owner's son decides to sell him the creature as his family is desperate for the cash.
Billy Peltzer (played by Zach Galligan) is delighted with his present, but, unfortunately, after failing to abide by one of three simple rules - he accidentally splashed water on the pet - this cute-looking creature spawns five new Mogwai from his body.
Billy takes Gizmo to his science teacher, Mr Hanson, and he produces another Mogwai who Billy leaves behind with Mr Hanson who wants to conduct experiments on it. However, this sixth Mogwai escapes from his cage and when Mr Hanson tries to bribe it with a bar of candy, the creature eats not only the candy, but also the teacher's hand, killing him in the process.
Meanwhile, back at Billy's home, the other five troublesome creatures trick Billy into feeding them after midnight by tampering with his alarm clock. After a night's sleep, Billy discovers that the creatures have turned into cocoons, although Gizmo is still the same. Billy returns to the school to tell Mr Hanson, but discovers the sixth Mogwai has turned into a reptilian creature.
Back at Billy's home, his mother is being attacked by the other gremlins, and in one of the funniest moments of the movie she manages to kill one of them in the food mixer and another in the microwave. However, one of the gremlins (nicknamed stripe) escapes from the house and jumps into the swimming pool. Now this is where the film really gets exciting, as a horde of troublesome and destructive reptilian monsters is unleashed onto the small town of Kingston Falls.
Although the movie received mainly positive reviews, it was actually criticised for containing too much violence. I must admit that the chaotic scenes involving the rampaging monsters do go on for rather too long, and aren't entirely suitable for younger kids, even though they are the target audience, of course!
A sequel entitled Gremlins 2: The New Batch was released in 1990, and this was much more suitable for younger kids, being less gruesome and more cartoon-like. Critics liked the fact that the movie wasn't as dark or violent as the original, although fans of the original didn't like it as much, mainly because they had now grown-up, I suspect!